Labor’s Campaign Launch – By Denis Bright

By Denis Bright

With 28 per cent of the electorate now supporting minor parties, Bill Shorten’s inspirational campaign launch offers a positive adrenalin shock to a weary electorate.

LNP strategists clearly underestimated the resilience of Bill Shorten’s Labor team to stand up to an eight week campaign.

Parliament had been prorogued to prevent a full parliamentary debate on Malcolm Turnbull’s Plan C for the future. Earlier plans based on possible state GST levies and then more cut-backs in government spending had been strategically abandoned.

The Campaign Launch commenced with a positive role for Emma Husar as local candidate in Lindsay, acknowledgment of indigenous heritage on several occasions, and an iconic appeal to the Women and Men of Australia. These were by-lines from Gough Whitlam’s iconic appeal to the nation from the Blacktown Civic Centre in 1972 and John Curtin’s wartime radio addresses to the nation.

Bill Shorten’s campaign launch at the Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre in Penrith eclipsed Gough Whitlam’s It’s Time Address on 13 November 1972.

This excellence was in the dynamics of proceedings.

The blend of 100 New Policies, the involvement of the entire shadow cabinet and respect for Labor’s living icons in the three former prime ministers plus an apology from Kevin Rudd in St. Petersburg all represented outstanding fine tuning.

As Bill Shorten moves on to campaign in Perth, it will take some days before the benefits of the campaign launch are reflected in forthcoming pre-election polls.

The LNP can hardly match this symbolism by inviting current ministers and Tony Abbott to be active players in next Sunday’s launch.

In its commitment to core Labor policies in the traditions of old social market principles, Bill Shorten’s campaign launch seems to be a perfect choreograph to address electoral resentment against a cynical eight week election marathon.

The pretext for the double dissolution election was of course to undermine the future foundations of trade union influence within the Australian workforce.

This rationale for a double dissolution election will scarcely be mentioned in Malcolm Turnbull’s own campaign launch as it has little significance as Week 7 of the current campaign commences.

If the forthcoming LNP campaign launch does invite comparisons, Labor must win hands down on its commitment to traineeships for long-term unemployed and older workers seeking to re-enter the workforce.

The LNP’s traineeship proposals are of course an insult to unemployed people. The traineeship proposals offer an insulting value of $200 for up to 25 hours a week per fortnight. Instead, Labor is offering subsidies of up to $20,000 per year to small business firms to employ people on award wages and conditions.

Labor’s campaign launch directly appeals to sections of its support base that have moved off to support minor parties.

In many still to be convinced key marginal seats, such initiatives also offer new hope to potential voters who are still disillusioned with mainstream politics.

A mere 2 percent improvement in Labor’s primary vote and a better drift of preferences from lapsed Labor voters can still get Labor over the line with a comfortably majority.

Look forward to positive responses to Bill Shorten in his tour of the marginal seats in this marathon campaign effort. This marathon election contest is far from over and this positive interpretation of today’s campaign launch must stand the test of time.

Denis Bright (pictured) is a registered teacher and a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis has recent postgraduate qualifications in journalism, public policy and international relations. He is interested in developing pragmatic public policies for a contemporary social market that is quite compatible with existing globalization trends.


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